I thought this mornings watch by Joe from Chester couldn’t get any better considering the volume of marsh terns sweeping across Cheshire (how wrong could I be).
Myself and Sparky decided to spend some of Bank Holiday Monday walking the trails of Delamere Forest. When we arrived it seemed that all the world, its wife and kids had come up with the same idea (that Gruffalo in the forest has got a lot to answer for ;O). Renegotiating our route we walked out to the former Eddisbury Fruit Farm on Yeld Lane in the hope of seeing some of the lingering Waxwing that were reported yesterday. Drawing a blank we were just about to turn tail and wander back into the forest when the trilling calls lured us up the lane to a tree where the flock were sat out in the open.
The birds were still gorging themselves on the fermenting apples still bubbling away on the floor of the orchard. Going by the methane haze hanging above the tree you can only imagine the wind swaying the branches (and I’m not talking about the breeze). The highlight was the bizarrely unique experience of trilling Waxwings and a singing male Cuckoo in the distance…surreal!
While we were in the forest I received a text from PR who was out on the marsh and kept me abreast of the Black Tern situation on the Weaver Bend…they were still there!
When you have a partner who isn’t remotely interested in birding it can take a lot of diplomatic negotiations to persuaded them that a Black Tern is of paramount importance. If that doesn’t work, falling to your knees and sobbing uncontrollably usually does the trick!
We had a lovely walk in the forest with a Redpool flock and a Crossbill heard. When Paul sent me another text saying that there was now 14 terns we delayed a visit to the local supermarket and was on the Weaver Bend in the blink of an eye.
On arrival Sparky was the first to spot the Black Tern flock hawking over the ‘bend’ while a Lesser Whitethroat was singing from the eastern banks of the I.C.I tank. Although the lads on scrambler bikes could have been a bit more thoughtful (as if).
Other birds noted this afternoon included: Swift, Cetti’s Warbler and 2 Marsh Harrier per Shaun Hickey, Gary Worthington. Also spotted from the Hale side of the estuary was an Arctic Tern flying alongside Frodsham Score plus 4 Black Tern leaving the Weaver estuary and a Little Gull by the sluice gate close to Marsh Farm Farm. Observers: Dave Craven & Ian Igglesden.
Paul was situated on the bank watching the terns and we both took loads of photographs while they were unconcerned by our presence. During the course of our watch more birds joined those already present and another 16 were added. At the last count 32 birds were on the river.
Nature Notes #58
Paul had witnessed earlier in the day the spectacle of a Stoat killing a young Rabbit and managed to capture the moment on his camera.
Observers: Frank Duff, Mike Turton (image 1), Paul Ralston (images 5 & 7-13), Sparky, WSM (images 2-4 & 6).